Kolam : for orchestra
by Tim Dargaville (2012, this version: 2015)
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Kolam is a ritualistic form of decorative threshold art, drawn on the ground using rice flour at the entrance of a private home. It is an ancient practice traditionally passed on from mother to daughter. A kolam itself is a mandala-like drawing composed of a continuous line curving around a matrix of dots. In the state of Tamil Nadu, in South India, kolam-making is widely practised by the women of the house each morning from daybreak. Kolams are thought to bestow prosperity to homes, are seen as a sign of welcome, and also ward off the "evil eye". Kolam patterns range between geometric and mathematical line drawings to free form artwork and closed shapes. Once drawn, these designs are left to be walked over, for passing insects to eat, and gradually disappear by the end of the day only to be reformed again the next morning.
Kolam : for Orchestra is intended to be a sonic meditation on this ancient and mysterious practice, and draws inspiration from the geometric nature of kolam design, as well its ephemeral nature. In particular, the temporal design and rhythmic writing in this work have been inspired by patterns and processes found in the parallel South Indian vocal percussion artform konnakol.
Year: 2012, this version: 2015
Instrumentation: Flute, flute/piccolo, oboe, oboe/cor anglais, 2 clarinets in B flat, bassoon, bassoon/contrabassoon, 2 horns in F, 2 trumpets in C, timpani/tam tam, percussion (1 player), harp, strings (10.8.6.4.2).
Duration: 15 min.
Dedication note: Dedicated to Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Resonate article: Inside the labyrinth, on the threshold by Tim Dargaville
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